Travelling around this week with friends from the U.S., I am seeing things with fresh eyes. The strange pronunciations, the shockingly changeable weather, the casual acceptance of road closures, spotting endangered species from the roadside…all those things I now just accept as normal. I’m reminded of how foreign they were to me once.
Coming from the land of restaurant chains, they were surprised by the abundance and quality of local cafés. Coming from a place of certainty, they remarked on the number of times I said, “This has changed completely since I was last here.” Coming from a land of freezing winters, they marvelled at fresh vegetables from the garden at the winter solstice.
It has highlighted for me just how much I have ‘gone native’. How much I have accepted, adapted to, and embraced this place. It has become me, and I have become it. There are many times when I still feel foreign, even after ten years here, but having visitors here helps me realise just how much I have come to belong.